LONDON (Reuters) - British police released the names of the 39 Vietnamese victims, including three boys, found dead in the back of a truck near London last month and said consultations had begun with Hanoi over repatriation of the bodies.
The 31 males and eight women were found in a truck container on an industrial estate in Grays, Essex, not far from docks on the River Thames, in the early hours of Oct. 23.
Police said last week they believed all were Vietnamese and announced on Friday they had completed the identification process with Vietnamese officials, revealing that nine of the victims were teenagers.
Two were aged just 15 and another was 17, while the oldest was 44.
"This was an incredibly important process and our team has been working hard to bring answers to worried families who fear their loved one may be among those whose tragic journey ended on our shores," said Tim Smith, the Assistant Chief Constable of Essex Police.
"It remained of paramount importance to us to ensure that an individual’s next of kin were informed and that they were given some time to absorb this tragic news before we publicly confirmed their loved one’s identity."
Police said the Vietnamese and British governments were working on how to achieve repatriation of the bodies. The exact cause of the deaths has not yet been disclosed.
The victims were found not long after the container arrived in Britain from Zeebrugge in Belgium. The refrigerated unit was picked up at Purfleet dock, east of London, while police believe the truck cab was driven over from Ireland.
The truck driver, from Northern Ireland, has been charged with 39 counts of manslaughter, conspiracy to traffic people, and money laundering. A second man has been charged with the same offences and British authorities are now in the process of trying to extradite him from Dublin.
They are also hunting for two brothers from Northern Ireland while Vietnamese police have arrested 10 people there in connection with the deaths.
Police named the victims as follows:
From Ha Tinh province:
Pham Thi Tra My, 26; Nguyen Dinh Lurong, 20; Nguyen Huy Phong, 35; Vo Nhan Du, 19; Tran Manh Hung, 37; Tran Khanh Tho, 18; Vo Van Linh, 25; Nguyen Van Nhan, 33; Bui Phan Thang, 37 and Nguyen Huy Hung, 15.
From Nghe An province:
Tran Thi Tho, 21; Bui Thi Nhung, 19; Vo Ngoc Nam, 28; Nguyen Dinh Tu, 26; Le Van Ha, 30; Tran Thi Ngoc, 19; Nguyen Van Hung, 33; Hoang Van Tiep, 18; Cao Tien Dung, 37; Cao Huy Thanh, 33; Tran Thi Mai Nhung, 18; Nguyen Minh Quang, 20.
Also from Nghe An:
Pham Thi Ngoc Oanh, 28; Hoang Van Hoi, 24; Nguyen Tho Tuan, 25; Dang Huu Tuyen, 22; Nguyen Trong Thai, 26; Nguyen Van Hiep, 24; Nguyen Thi Van, 35; Tran Hai Loc, 35.
Le Trong Thanh, 44, from Dien Chau; Duong Minh Tuan, 27, from Quang Binh; Nguyen Ngoc Ha, 32, from Quang Binh; Nguyen Tien Dung, 33, from Quang Binh; Phan Thi Thanh, 41, from Hai Phong; Nguyen Ba Vu Hung, 34, from Thua Tien Hue; Dinh Dinh Thai Quyen, 18, from Hai Phong; Tran Ngoc Hieu, 17, from Hai Duong; Dinh Dinh Binh 15, from Hai Phong.
(Editing by Stephen Addison)